[Image: From Pruned: Paolo Soleri, 1969].
Be sure to stop by Pruned for some amazing new posts and images, including Asteromo, "an outside-inside ellipsoidal earth," designed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. Soleri, of course, was also the man behind Arcosanti, that monument to dust-covered magazines, old toilets, bureaucratic inactivity and failed utopias in the otherwise beautiful Arizona desert.
In any case, Pruned compares Asteromo to other plans "using actual asteroids" as spacebound earth-surrogates, rescuing humans from a poisoned biosphere.
[Image: As Pruned quotes: "Man, standing head toward the axis of rotation, will be enveloped in a solid ecology” – surely a haiku if there ever was one. Or perhaps this is haiku as rediscovered by Aleister Crowley, a Tarot card for the Space Age. (Illustration by Roy G. Scarfo)].
An earlier idea, for instance, by "futurologists Dandridge Cole and Donald Cox," would have created a nomadic pseudo-earth by "fusing and sculpting" domestic space inside a captured asteroid. This would be done using "heat from solar mirrors." The result would be a "gigantic geodesic interior chamber," created "in much the same way as a glassblower shapes a small solid lump of molten glass into a large empty bottle."
Yes – someone apparently thought that would work. (See here for loads more information about outerterrestrial bio-escape utopias).
[Image: Vent-Based Alpha; illustration by Kenn Brown & Chris Wren/Wired].
Then, however, I was cleaning house last night when I found an old copy of Wired – I must be living in Arcosanti – which I promptly wasted more than an hour and a half reading in its entirety. But therein I re-discovered Phil Nuytten's plans for Vent-Based Alpha, an undersea hot-vent microtopia powered by geothermal energy.
From the article: "'Essentially, it's like taking a cruise ship with several hundred people and parking it at the bottom of the ocean,' Nuytten says. 'After three or four generations, inhabitants would ask, Are there really people who live on the surface?'"
Which is fair enough – the place will have gardens, for instance, and everyone will get exercise somehow, etc. – but, even aside from the obvious questions of population growth and a need for more space, I can't help but picture those people a bit further down the line, once several generations have been bred in the darkness, devolving into a state of permanent dementia, confused brains hardened from lack of sunlight and vitamins, stumbling through the pressurized halls of their own undersea prison, wearing stained clothing and listening to Mozart, talking to reflections, teeth yellow, repeating things, forgetful, screwing their own children, half-insane.
Vent-Based Chainsaw Massacre. Screenplay by BLDGBLOG.